The figures were just released by official sources, reflecting the financial performance of the financial year 2012/13 which ended on the 30th of June, vis a vis the preceding year 2011/12.
Regular sources from the main island of Unguja have attributed the drop to several factors, one being the softening economies in their main source markets, but also at the same time the failure of tourism marketing to identify and nurture new and emerging markets. One source also pointed at negative publicity over politically inspired riots and demonstrations, the burning of churches, killing of a Catholic priest and – though this could not yet have had a full impact – the recent attack on two British volunteers in the heart of the ancient stone town for which Zanzibar is globally known.
‘We are engaged in talks with government, here in Zanzibar and on the mainland, and are also discussing new ways forward with our tourism marketing officials. There are many issues which need resolving. Budget for marketing Tanzania and Zanzibar is one, increasing tourist security to more visible levels another. We have to package ourselves better. Zanzibar has top rated resorts and more are being built. The quality is outstanding and our beaches can hold their own in comparison with the world’s best. We have all the right ingredients in combination with the mainland safari parks. Maybe we also need to strengthen the visibility and reputation of the entire East Africa in our key markets because when one country has issues it seems to affect us all’ said a regular contributor from the island’s tourism fraternity.
It was recently reported here that ZATI, the Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors, has renewed their efforts to engage government on a range of issues of concern to hotel and resort owners and tour operators, with the aim to improve government’s focus on tourism as a major source of revenue and job creation through dialogue.